Thomas Grahame Greenaway: businessman’s trial date for alleged theft from Indigenous trust under a cloud

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton Courthouse. INSET: Thomas Greenaway, who goes by his middle name Grahame.
Camera IconGeraldton Courthouse. INSET: Thomas Greenaway, who goes by his middle name Grahame. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

The start date of a Geraldton businessman’s trial over the alleged theft of almost $3 million from a native title trust appears to be in doubt as prosecutors wait for an “important” report from a forensic accountant.

Thomas Grahame Greenaway was charged by officers from the Financial Crimes Squad in December 2019 amid allegations he stole millions from the Yugunga-Nya People’s Trust.

Police have previously alleged he stole about $2.9m from the trust to partly pay for the purchase of a Geraldton hotel.

Grahame Greenaway faces trial over alleged theft.
Camera IconGrahame Greenaway faces trial over alleged theft. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

He was appointed as a trustee of the People’s Trust when it was set up in 2004 to receive royalties from mining companies on native title land in the Murchison — a position he held until 2017.

The 70-year-old former Durack Liberal Party treasurer’s three-week trial is scheduled to begin on August 23, facing 33 counts of stealing, one count of gaining benefit for another by fraud, and stealing as a servant.

Mr Greenaway has previously stated he “rejects and refutes” all charges and will fight the allegations in court.

In the District Court on Friday, Judge Michael Gething expressed alarm after prosecutors told the court they were “still waiting” for an expert report which may be finished in “mid-July”.

“That’s just not going to work,” he said. “It puts the trial at risk of the defence taking one look at it and saying ‘we need more time’.”

Mr Greenaway has previously stated he ‘rejects and refutes’ all charges and will fight the allegations in court.

“Get back to the expert and explain my concerns,” he said. “What I need to know is this is the very top of his priority list.

“It can’t take six weeks.”

To “simplify” the coming trial, Judge Gething told prosecutors to provide the defence with a dot-point outline of the statement of facts, also ordering the defence to send through any admissions they were willing to make.

Mr Greenaway’s lawyer, George Giudice, will appear on his behalf on Thursday for a directions hearing to determine the trial date.

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